Very few people out there can honestly say they predicted the pandemic.
Once it arrived, though, it was clear it would have a huge impact.
Erica Mayshar, Chris Savio, Akhil Talwar and Courtney Jucht from LMI discuss four of the predictions here.
Prediction 1: Contact centers will pivot to become permanently remote
As working from home became the new normal, companies who hadn’t already would obviously need to shift to remote contact centers.
No matter the challenges these companies had been up against before, there was no other option that let them keep functioning under shelter-in-place orders.
Our prediction took it a step further though: We said that, in the long run, these companies would see the benefits to this seemingly temporary shift and make it permanent.
Various companies are in different stages of transitioning.
For many companies, the goal is to provide a seamless experience between their interactions with customers on different channels. In most cases, this means successfully leveraging new technologies and platforms to provide this experience.
One obvious problem is the inability of an employee to turn to another and get instant answers to their questions. So, information needs to be easily accessible to all employees.
“Whether this shift works long term will depend on the ability for companies to implement technologies that help with efficiency and accurate information.” — Erica Mayshar
It’s too early to tell. Many companies have made the switch and, certainly, some have made it permanently, but we won’t know if this is an overwhelming trend or not for some time still.
Prediction 2: Demand for high-touch digital services will increase
The move to digital-first services is a steady march that’s been going on for several years.
That went into overdrive once socially distancing made digital not just a priority, but a necessity.
We predicted that this would lead to a rise in high-touch digital services.
And if you look across various companies, you can see many adopting more high-touch approaches to digital: Video chats and co-browse technologies are replicating the in-store consumer experience remotely.
The question is: Will consumers permanently adapt and accept this as more than a temporary fix, or will video fatigue set in and kill the staying power of this approach
“The staying power of high-touch digital services is going to come down to the appetite of the consumer. ” — Chris Savio
We got this one right, but our win comes with an asterisk. Many companies are offering concierge-like digital services across the board. But the verdict is still out on whether this trend will have staying power.
Prediction 3: Self-service will save customer service
The move to self-service to fortify the front end of many companies was already trending before the pandemic.
But there are 3 reasons the pandemic rapidly accelerated the trend.
Pre-COVID-19, several companies had already proved the monster return on investment for self-service, making it easier for companies to make the switch.
The total failure of traditional contact channels made an already tempting transition a no-brainer.
The pandemic shone a spotlight on the challenges involved in effectively managing a remote workforce, placing greater emphasis on intelligent self-service.
And, looking to the future, it seems that self-service will become even more ingrained in customer service.
For instance, when it comes to consumer service, the fact there is now less emphasis on “peak” hours since schedules are so much less rigid in the new normal demands 24-hour staffing at contact centers.
A simple alternative is to focus more on self-service to minimize the effects of this disruption.
“We’ve seen first-hand how intelligent self-service has given organizations the ability to react … and provide better content.” — Akhil Talwar
Nailed it. Self-service is saving — and will continue to save — customer service.
Prediction 4: There will be a trade-off between efficiency and resiliency
This one is a tricky one so many companies have had to really dissect in order to survive, let alone thrive, in the new normal.
And there has been a push and pull between the two due to remote work — even at LogMeIn.
Recently, Courtney was chatting with one of our customers, who explained their company’s dilemma.
Their company is all about operational efficiency and were able to make the transition to remote work relatively smoothly.
But they got hit hard when COVID-19 arrived on the scene — their traffic went up 80% because it was all digital.
And their agents got absolutely slammed.
They were at their max concurrency for the full 8 hours every day of the week and this put immense strain on the employees. Then some stopped showing up for work and their CSET plummeted.
What they ended up having to do was decrease concurrency, which, for a company focused on operational efficiency, didn’t go well with management.
Yet, their CSAT increased.
Sure, the customer had to wait slightly longer for service. But on the whole, the service they got was a much better experience.
It’s a real-world example of this tension playing out.
Another one we called correctly. These are trade-offs companies will have to continue to weigh going forward if they want to provide amazing CX.
Our predictions have played out for the most part, though for a couple it’s too early to tell whether the impact is here to stay. Depending on how you want to score two “yeses,” one “yes*” and a “too-soon-to-tell,” we either have 3 or a 3.5 out of a possible 4.